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Paul Francis Mc Cann

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More Insight On Poetry Form
By Paul Francis Mc Cann   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, May 09, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2007

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The guidelines I am presenting here are useful tools that will give your poetry depth and inspiration.

The strength of poetry is having both the knowledge of structure and the ability to adapt these structures to create new forms .

I would like to share with you some of the experience with my poetry.

The guidelines I am presenting on this web site are useful tools that will give your poetry depth and inspiration.

Poetry is a disciplined expression of the written word and the use of structures provide the tools of trade of poetry writing.

Poetry structures have a set of rhyming patterns, metre, grammar and imagery. Looking back into the mists of time the origins of poetry began with structures and poets today are still following these guidelines.

Structure 1 –

Pre-Phrase (Paul McCann)

This is a structure of poetry I created that has one phrase or line repeating as an answer to the previous line of the poem . The phrase will then become the totle of the poem .

My Example

Love Will Find A Way
By Paul McCann

Like when you’ve cried all night and day .
Love will find a way .

Like if they say to go away .
Love will find a way .

Like when we fight for what is right .
Love will find a way .

Like if you’re heart is shut locked tight .
Love will find a way .

Like when you’re hurt and on your knees .
Love will find a way .

Like when I say forgive me please .
Love will find a way .



Structure 2 –The Rubai

The Rubai (plural rubaiyat) is a quatrain rhyming sequence a-a-b-a-.
Edward Fitzgerald the great translator of Omar Khayyam wrote it in iambic pentameter .


My Example


Backdrops Of Blue Gums
By Paul McCann

Underneath a clear sky,
haze rests on the horizon ,
as parrots perch in the blue gums within these blue mountain hideaways .

Far away from the city streets in the backdrop of rural retreats ,
blue gums touch the sky in a landscape of hazy greys .

Where blue gums stand tall,
birds call,
Where the silence of rain falls
where rainbows run the sun shines.
The backdrops of blue Gums can be seen .

Natures reflection is a prayer,
against the earth and sky
where thoughts can drift away to a higher place and touch the blue haze .




Structure 3 –The Pantoum

In this structure there are four stanzas with lines set up as follows:
1-2-3-4, 2-5-4-6, 5-7-6-8, 7-3-8-1

My Example

The Guardian Angel Song

By Paul McCann


I walked along a road that saw the dusk turn into dawn,

I wondered how much further would I have to travel on .

My blistered feet where telling me to carry on be strong .

I got down on my knees and sang my Guardian Angel song.


I wondered how much further would I have to travel on .

Then suddenly the pain in both my blistered feet had gone ,

I got down on my knees and sang my Guardian Angel song

and then I met a man who said his name was Brother John.

Suddenly the pain in both my blistered feet had gone ,

I looked at him and found the strength to carry on.

and then I met a man who said his name was Brother John.

My arms were tired and weary John said steady on be strong .

I looked at him and found the strength to carry on.

My blistered feet where telling me carry on be strong

My arms were tired and weary John said steady on be strong .

I walked along a road that saw the dusk turn into dawn .



Structure 4– Sense Wise

This is a structure of poetry I created that introduces the various senses into the poem .
An excellent tool for creating imagry in a poem .

My Example
My Place - By Paul McCann

A place where we can feel .
A place where we can heal .
A place where we can see .
A place where we are free .
A place we call our home .
A place that we can smell .
A place we say we own .
A place with taste as well .




Structure 5–The Epigram

A short poem with a witty ending often a satiric or paradoxical twist ,

My example


Using Your Head

By Paul McCann

I said to the teacher ,
I am a poor creature ,
spare me the time to think .

I should have done my sums ,
with my fingers and thumbs ,
but my pen ran out of ink .



Structure 6–The Tanka


A short poem that uses syllables in it's structure similar to the Haiku .

The sequence of syllables are as follows
5-7 , 5-7. 7-5 , 7-5 and 7


My Example


The Wheel Of Life

By Paul McCann

Sometimes I get caned .
Love is like a bamboo stick
Sometimes I get pain .
Sometimes in life I get sick
Sometimes in life I am healed
Life is after all,
a series of things to feel .
I don't mind at all.
In life things turn like a wheel .



Structure 7–The Ballad


The Ballad is similar to the Narrative structure .
In poetic form the ballad tells of tragic and heroic tales .
Ballads take on two images which are either traditional or common verse.
The traditional form of Ballad looks at tragic tales .
Ballads are often portraying heroes .


My example

The Leaving - By Paul McCann

The captain and the crew
they said goodbye to you ,
and left you standing there
in the cold morning air .

The potato crop failed
as the hungry all sailed
to Americas shore
like coffins at the door .

Upon a stark cobalt,
tears tasted just like salt,
So much was left unsaid ,
Of loved ones lost and dead .

Though life unkindly dealt
emotions that were felt,
like warm rays of the sun,
around everyone .

If you could kindly wait
One day to celebrate,
and in time they'll forget
the heartache that was met .

But the leaving is hard ,
and grieving cannot guard,
the courage of that day,
when many sailed away



Structure 8–The Villanelle



The rules to follow with the Villanelle are as follows .

Write a poem with 5 three-line verses
and a final section of 4 lines ,
which make up 19 lines in the poem .
Using a rhyming system or formulae,
the five 3 line sections are a and b
The final one is a b a a .

Another rule that must be adhered to and that is to have a repetition.

The way this works is line one repeats as line six then line 12 and line 18.
Line 3 repeats as 9 then 15 and 19

My Example

The Flight - By Paul McCann

No speed limits apply,
The sky road has no end
A message through the sky .
Below the roads that lie,
Stretch out then twist each bend,
no speed limits apply.
Gracefully sailing by ,
On the flight home I send ,
A message through the sky .
On pigeon legs to tie,
this small note to a friend,
Hello my love, goodbye .
Then send it to the sky ,
Where winds guard and defend ,
A message through the sky ,
Past vision in my eye .
To horizons end,
Hello my love goodbye,
A message through the sky .




Structure 9–The Rondeau

These are the basic rules to follow in writing a Rondeau.

Compose a poem of 15 lines which can be split up in three verses .

These three sections can be of unequal length.

e.g. 5 lines, 4 lines, and then 6 lines.

The key to the Rondeau is in the first line of the poem.

This line must be repeated at the end of the 2nd and 3rd verse .

All the verses may be joined together and become one piece of poetry.


My Example

Birthday Celebrations

By Paul McCann
When our birthdays come around,
we can hear the happy sound,
of laughter and singing too ,
Just say where and tell us who,
celebrations can be found .
When our birthdays come around .
Life is the dance and we here,
Will clap together and cheer.
And jump high up off the ground ,
When our birthdays come around .
Balloons are blown up too,
It’s a special day for you,
when the streamers are unwound ,
and wet shamrocks end up drowned,
when our birthdays come around




Structure 10 –

The Jabber (Paul McCann)

I created this style of poetry with a focus on hip talk or jive of the day be it rap or techno I think that the term Jabber covers the theme well .

My Example

Slamming It - By Paul McCann


I was walking down the street

with my finger up my nose,

I was telling everybody

hey this is how it goes.

Gimmie gimmie gimmie

cause I'm a skinny looking dude ,

Yea ,I said gimmie gimmie gimmie

some slam jamming food .

Its gotta have a sick trash taste

cause I don't wanna waste,

your time and my time ,

hey stay cool dude

my times in a haste.



Structure 11 –

One Word (Paul McCann)

This is a structure of poetry I created that has the same word at the beginning of each line in the poem which becomes the title of the poem .

My Example

Perhaps - By Paul McCann

Perhaps if I smile maybe you will too .

Perhaps in a while you’ll fell like I do .

Perhaps if I cry my tears will run dry .

Perhaps we could try and see eye to eye .

Perhaps you might say I’ll see things your way .

Perhaps for a change it will be ok .



And so ends another look at the tools and process of writing poetry expression .


By Paul McCann    

Web Site: Poetry Prompts


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Reviewed by Barbara Sue 5/9/2009
Hello Paul, thanks for sharing these structure types of poetry. Besides the Mirror Loop, I like the pre-phrase and the one word structure..I came across some poetry structure called Tercet. I am going to post it on my poetry site later today.Thanks for sharing

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